Odds Are: On the difference between odds, probability, and risk ratio.

Odds, Probability, Chance, Risks: Interchangeable?
Not so much.

What does it mean to say “smokers are X times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers?” What about
when the weather channel says, “there is a 10% chance of rain?” The odds of 1 to 10 of winning?

These words are often used in casual conversations as somewhat interchangeable, and can be rather confusing. I remember being very excited to learn about them for the first time, so hopefully you will find this as interesting (or at least as clarifying!) as I did!

A little test!

odds-in-your-favor

In which of the following scenario are you most likely to find dessert happiness? Which ones are saying the same thing?

A. The odds against you eating a cupcake are 1 to 5.

B. Your odds of/on eating a cupcake are 1 to 5.

C. The probability of you eating a cupcake is 20%.

D. You have a 20% chance of eating a cupcake.

Answers, in short: A is the most likely-for-cupcake scenario, and C and D are saying the same thing.

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